Weber,Durkheim, and Marx are philosophers that differed in their theoriesof sociology of religion. Though they each try to explain how thereligious factor in the society that increases is built on the basisof rationalism (Catlin 2014, 131). Of the three thinkers, Marx is theone who was the earliest to write something little about religion. Inhis writing, there is little mentioning about religion, such that itwill not be easy to pull the sociology of worship. However, whenindulging in his book, especially the first paragraphs, you will beable to pull Marx classical stamen on religion, which is the opium ofthe people.
Inhis statement” Let us not forget that there exists no otherreligious reality than the faith of the believer. If we want to knowreligion, we must refer exclusively to the believer`s testimony,(W.B. Kristensen)”. The statement might not be similar to thedeclarations made by Weber. Durkheim, the three philosophers, triesto explain how religion came to be and the effects that religion hason the society (Weber 2002, 88). In his book, Marx starts off thecontribution the criticism that the people had on religion with abold opening. Marx clarifies his position there is nothing likenon-human being and when a man tries to seek a supernatural he willend up finding only his reflection (Dilthey, 2008, 458-460).According to him, religion is nothing but a reflection of humanityand not God. The gods that man tries to find is he as discoveredthrough the course of recent events in history.
Whenit comes to Durkheim, he uses the history of religion to illustratethe manner at which society came to be structured. In hisexplanation, for instance, Durkheim classificatory schemes used insocial groups are based on the difference that is found in tribes(Durkheim, 2002). According to him, tribes were categorized into twodivisions that were subdivided further into various clans. It is thisdivision according to Durkheim that was used to classify theenvironment and the surrounding into different categories. He remarksthat there is nothing objective in the world that forces humans to beable to group things with each other (Münch, 2008, 450). There is noplace in reality is it possible to observe beings that can be able tomerge their nature as well as to change into one another. He tries toexplain that the realities to where religious speculation is appliedare the same theories that would serve as the objects that scientistwould use. The realities that were created were society, nature andman. These facts are used to try to connect things together, tryingto establish internal relationships between things that both classifyand systematize them. According to his explanation, Durkheim statesthat religion is not the thing that brought society, rather it is thesociety that gave birth to worship(2002).
Weberclaims that people tend to peruse only that which interest them(Weber, 2002). According to him, religion is a tool that has beenbrought forth to provide a tool for social change as well asstability. To support his theory, Weber comes up with various trends,for instance, the importance of believing in magic that the earliersociety had, thus the reason that acts were efficacious during thisperiod. At this stage of life, magicians were able to do certaintasks like the protection of the village, healing and alsofacilitating the growth of crops (Elwell 2014, 77). The magiciansrealized that for them to be relevant, they will have to ensure thatthe people are always in need of their services. As time went by, aneed of having particular gods rose and those gods grew in prominenceas well as monotheism in the end becoming more dominant. Weber claimsthat the creation of these gods needs something to be able tomaintain them and thus came the priesthood. The next team t creationwas the prophets, just like the magicians they used to empower thecommunity due to their gift of having charisma.
Theentire three authors had different theories defining religion. By theend of the era, none of them believed that it is a religion thatbrought society, rather the organization that brings forth faith. The difference found between Marx and Durkheim. Marx spends most ofhis research and writing trying to state how the economy factors arethe reason behind the engines of history spending less time onreligious topics. Durkheim spends a lot of time in exploring ofreligion and how it has influenced the direction that the societytakes (Michels 2015, 5).Just like Durkheim, Weber spends a lot oftime in a contemporary society that rooted in the process ofreligion. At the same time, Weber just like Marx sees the drivingforce of indulging into history by using the driving forces, themartial of interest and not ideas that found in religious belief.Weber tries to bring out the ideas found in the Religious faith . Theprimary focus of his book is the combination of using technologiesthat are employed in the facilitation of capitalism as well as theascetic behavior. Those are off the Calvinist of allowed capitalismto be able to flourish both in Europe and America.
Johnstone(2001) listed five components that define religion. He statedreligion is composed of the group, sacred miracles, the creed thatrepresent the Supreme Being and norms and culture. In his definitionthere no significant differences with classic perspective, however,he added how people interacted worshiped differently from theclassical view. He Believed religion exist from society, and societyfrom religion. Church universally influence people and eliminatecompetition of faith through monopolizing religion (Johnstone, 2001).He also added that church follow routine in there rituals.
Scholarshave tried to define the study and meaning of religion withoutsuccess. Most students in their definition focus more on the groupsof people rather than the individual experience that a person getsout of religion. For those scholars that look at the experience of aperson with religion, they do their research based on a larger group.Most scholars define religion as an overall framework that is used bya panel so as to understand its world as well as guide the life. Ourdaily general framework shapes every moment that a certain group goesthrough. It is not something that is out of the ordinary, in fact, inmost cases it does go on like everyday life experiences.
CliffordGeertz is among the influential figure when it comes to religion. Hebrings out a definition of religion that has been used and borrowedwhen it comes to studying of religion. It is his definition ofreligion that gives us a starting place for those who are studyingreligion to be able to understand it in a social as well asscientific way. It suggests that every group, and individual in oneway or another live under the concept of religion. Even in the casethat no one in the group believes either in God or life after deathor any familiar trappings of religion. By him stating that everygroup and the community has religion, he meant that every group has aparticular framework that its members have in common so that theymake sense out of life and guide behavior.
Oneof the definitions that are given by Geertz(2002) is that religion isa system of a symbol. Symbols can be can be anything ranging frompictures, events, objects, actions, relationship or anything else.Thus for people with different religion, they tend to have differentsymbols. There are some that find their symbol being sacred and willnot want anyone or anything to interfere with it. These symbols tendto have meaning that conveys a message about the religion. The symbolis used to teach and help those using it to be able to understand thereligion in a particular manner. At the same time, the religion iswhat is used to bring out the real meaning of that religion and alsodistinguish it from other faiths. These symbols are used to informpeople that they should or are supposed to live in a particularmanner because the world moves in a certain way.
Hisother definition Geertz states that religion is a Religion is asystem of full of symbolism that acts to establish moods andmotivations that are substantial, pervasive and long-lasting (Geertz2002, 90). Moods are the manner at which people feel and respond tothe world. Motives are the things that people aspire, and values arethe things that are held. Ccombined the three elements can be used tomake either our lives or ethos. The reality of life is that people ofreligion or faith have to have feelings in a particular manner andaim to keep values up absolute values. The effect of symbols used inreligion.
Hisother definition is that religion is used to formulate the concept ofhaving a general order of existence. Religion is there so that it canpersuade us that there is the connection between nature and our dailylives. The religion aims to reassure us that there is meaningfulorder in the manner at which we live rather than having chaos in ourlives. In most cases, this is taken for granted. However, every oneof us tends to have a moment of crises where the world does not seemto make any point. Religion helps those who are undergoing adifficult situation that it is something that is passing by and willbe over soon. Religion is used to cloth its conception of order witha factuality of order. If you are having a symbol of faith with you,you will be able to endure crises. To face the challenges that lifethrows, it is important that you view the symbol as a description ofsomething that is permanent in reality. So as to reinforce suchbelief, every religion has rituals that they perform. According toGeertz ( 2002), a ritual is a way that is used to act out anindividual symbol . On the same note, a routine is also used to showthe believers that it is possible to a certain reality according toits group behavior.
Spirodefines religion as ‘institution consisting of culturally patternedinteraction with culturally postulated superhuman beings.” (Spiro1966, 92) He concurs with Durkheim that there is no faith without adenomination and faith has some methodological status of othercultures. Religion enables interaction between people andsuperhuman, enabling people to behave in way desire to gain favor orprotection from the super beings. The concept of Supreme being havetheir root in society, this does not mean that for bearer of thatfaith that society is God or God is a mere symbol of society. Thepractice of this faith is instigated by desire to satisfy a need ofthe supernatural being( Spiro, 1966). This allows society to beattached to one religion or another. He further stated that one canprimarily be introduced in a religion as a child or as result of needto worship or gain a favor. Thus, it rather not functionalrequirement that evokes worshiping, but motivationaldesire(Spiro1966). People use religions as a tool through which theyidentify themselves and be expressed with. As Christian areidentifying themselves with Christ, so do Muslim associate themselveswith Allah. Religion has persisted to exist because of generationalassociation with religion and Faith or believes that are associatedwith religion. Spiro and Geertz have significantly contributed to theway people perceive religion, they have brought various views of howdifferent cultures perceive religion and their own perspective on thematter. Modern societies define religion based on some of theirarguments.
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